Black tomatoes grow on branch in vegetable garden. Indigo rose - blackest tomato variety harvest in farm greenhouse
The Specially Bred Purple Tomato That's Strangely Like Blueberries
By Nico Danilovich
The Indigo Rose tomato is a 21st-century invention by scientists at Oregon State University, who selectively crossbred purplish tomatoes to produce those with cooler, darker hues.
This hue is caused by anthocyanin, which are healthy antioxidants that give fruits like tomatoes and blueberries a purple pigment, making them similar in color and health value.
According to Verywell Health, anthocyanins could lower the risk of cell damage and diseases such as Alzheimer's, diabetes, cancer, glaucoma, and heart disease.
Since its unveiling circa 2011, Indigo Rose has been joined by other crossbred purple tomatoes like the Indigo Cherry Drops, Indigo Pear Drops, Indigo Kiwi, and Midnight Roma.
While naturally purple heirloom tomatoes exist, their coloring comes from pheophytin, which lacks the cross-pollinated tomatoes' anthocyanin antioxidant benefits.
Purple crossbred tomatoes aren't genetically modified, but a purple GMO cultivar that's 10 times more antioxidant than regular tomatoes is expected to come to U.S. markets in 2023.